Cartagena Mayor Seeks to Ban LALExpo; Organizers Say Show Will Go On

Cartagena Mayor Seeks to Ban LALExpo; Organizers Say Show Will Go On
Rhett Pardon

CARTAGENA, Colombia — The mayor of Cartagena announced today that he has instructed his aides to place a ban on the upcoming Latin America Adult Business Expo (LALExpo).

LALExpo officials, however, said that the announcement of a proposed ban is just “politics” and that the show will go on as planned.

“We deal with this each year,” said Anthony Rivera, an organizer of the event and co-founder of AJ Studios. “It’s not new for us. Our lawyers are handling it.

“We do not need to request any permission from the mayor’s office, and they can’t legally cancel our event,” Rivera told XBIZ.

“The Cartagena Convention Center is a private entity, they are free to host any events they want. We have talked to them and they have no intentions to cancel us.”

LALExpo, the only business-oriented adult entertainment conference in South America, has been held three consecutive years. The conference is slated this year for July 10-12.

The show, which includes an awards program, mostly attracts online adult entertainment owners and executives, cam studios and cam models.

More than 900 people trekked to Cartagena to attend the 2016 LALExpo. But attendance was expected to balloon this year due to a larger venue at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, known as one of the largest and most impressive convention centers in Latin America.

Today, Cartagena’s mayor, Manuel Vicente Duque, instructed his interior minister to enforce a ban at the city’s convention center.

“We are not going to lend our city for this type of industry,” Duque said.

The governor of the Colombian state of Bolivar, Dumek Turbay, urged Duque to place a ban on LALExpo, stating the “pornographic industry is hurting the city … it is the reaffirmation of that stigma that we have that Cartagena is a destination of sex tourism. We will not allow it."

Rivera noted that LALExpo was a “hot topic” on Colombian TV and radio, as well as the local newspapers, today.

“We are very happy of the free press, and our sponsors should also be very happy their brands are getting a load of exposure now.”

Indeed, the media exposure today allowed even more publicity about the show.

Richard Bedoya, another organizer of LALExpo, explained to a local radio station  that the conference is a private event that simply does not promote prostitution or pornography.

"This is not an open event and there are no shows,” Bedoya said. “This is a gathering of professionals from the adult entertainment industry, which brings producers and experts to business circles in an emerging and growing market around the world. We do not promote prostitution, what we are looking for is to end the clandestine market.”

Rivera told XBIZ that LALExpo will issue a formal press release announcement in coming days.

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